Trump Appears to Back Away From Diplomacy With North Korea

WASHINGTON (CN) – President Donald Trump lashed out at North Korea on Twitter Wednesday, seemingly backing away from a diplomatic solution to the country’s recent provocations by saying “talking is not the answer.”

Trump’s tweet comes a day after he issued a statement promising “all options are on the table” after North Korea’s most recent missile test, which sent a missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean.

“The U.S. has been talking to North Korea, and paying them extortion money, for 25 years,” Trump said on Twitter. “Talking is not the answer!”

Trump did not elaborate on what “extortion money” the United States is paying North Korea. The Obama administration sent $1 million to North Korea through the United Nations this January  for flood relief, the first humanitarian aid the U.S. sent to the country since 2011.

The White House did not respond to a request to clarify the tweet or elaborate on what changes could be coming to U.S. policy towards North Korea.

But Defense Secretary James Mattis on Wednesday sought to downplay President Trump’s assertion telling reporters asking about the tweet at the Pentagon, “We’re never out of diplomatic solutions.”

The United Nations Security Council condemned North Korea’s most recent missile test on Tuesday, but did not place new sanctions on top of those it issued earlier this month.

North Korea’s foreign minister promised after the last round of sanctions that the country would never give up its nuclear or ballistic missiles as a condition of negotiating with the United States.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke with the Japanese and South Korean foreign ministers on Tuesday to discuss the most recent missile test. The three agreed the test was an “escalation of North Korean provocations” that showed the country is a threat, according to a State Department spokesperson.

North Korean state media said the most recent test was a “meaningful prelude to containing Guam,” the U.S. territory in the Pacific that North Korea threatened after the first verbal spat with Trump earlier this month.

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